Ranocchia answers Hull distress call

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Relegation-threatened Hull City have reinforced their backline with the loan signing of defender Andrea Ranocchia from Inter.

The 28-year-old centre-back, who spent time at Sampdoria last season, has moved to the KCOM Stadium until the end of the campaign.

Capped 21 times by Italy, Ranocchia will be available for selection when Hull face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

He arrives in England to find the Tigers 19th on the table, two points adrift from safety.

Hull head coach Marco Silva, who was appointed as Mike Phelan's replacement earlier in January, will hope Ranocchia can help in his attempts to steer the team away from the relegation zone.

And while early performances under the former Olympiacos boss have been encouraging, the challenge of avoiding the drop remains considerable.

Already struggling with injuries to key players, Hull have lost Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore to West Ham and West Brom respectively in the January transfer window. Andrew Robertson meanwhile has been heavily linked with a move to Burnley.